The Shannara Chronicles: “Changeling”

banner by the Collected Mutineer
banner by the Collected Mutineer

I attended the panel for the show at SDCC 2015, and I’ve been waiting for it with bated breath ever since. The show is based on Terry Brooks’ series of Shannara fantasy novels, and over the past decade I have read every single one. So far this season: the Ellcrys, which creates the Forbidding and keeps the Four lands demon-free, is dying. Only Amberle, the Elvish princess, can save it. She’s joined by the Druid Allanon and Wil, a half-Elf with a mythic lineage.  Warning: Spoilers ahead. 


Shannara on MTV
Shannara on MTV

“Changeling” lights up on Princess Amberle (Poppy Drayton) facing the Ellcrys’ test to see if she is worth to take its seed to the Bloodfire. The Ellcrys brings Amberle into a vision in which she faces a spectre of her dead boyfriend, Lorin. Lorin tells her that she never loved him, and then he shifts into a version of Wil Ohmsford (Austin Butler). This Wil, however, is not the bumbling lovable character we’ve come to know. He is hard, he is driven, and he tells Amberle to kill him. They fight, and it ends with a sword in his belly, and his final words are those of the Ellcrys:

“Congratulations, Amberle, you passed the test. Now don’t let anything distract you. Not fear. Not love. The fate of the world depends on it.”

Now that Team Ellcrys knows where to go and how to save the Ellcrys, the only thing that stands in their way is the demon that’s infiltrated Arborlon: a Changeling. It can take any form, and be any one that it sees. Allanon (Manu Bennett) insists that they remain in the Elvish city until the demon has been taken care of, and it is around this time that Eretria (Ivana Baquero) sneaks into the city, determined to steal the Elfstones (again) for the Rovers.

Shannara on MTV
Shannara on MTV

Eretria finds Wil, seduces him, and steals the Elfstones. Again.

As she tries to leave the palace, the Changeling steals her likeness and attempts to kill Amberle, for which Eretria is placed under arrest for attempted murder. Fairly quickly, Team Ellcrys, and the king, realize that Eretria was not responsible for the attack and arrange to use her as a decoy to draw out the demon. Eretria is not thrilled by the idea, but she’s not keen on spending the rest of her life in prison, either.

The plan works, just not exactly as expected. The Changeling took the form of one of the palace guards, overheard the plan, and impersonated Wil to get close to Amberle. Allanon, however, is close at hand to protect the princess and destroy the demon. The team that was shown in Amberle’s vision then sets out for the Bloodfire–princess, half-Elf, and Rover.

Still To Come

Shannara on MTV
Shannara on MTV

Love Triangle

Amberle’s vision of Wil indicates that she has deeper feelings for him than she’d ever tell him. Add that to her reaction of his and Eretria’s tryst, and I’d say that a love triangle is blooming. Eretria’s broken Wil’s trust several times now, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Wil and Amberle grow closer in the coming weeks.

Monsters and Demons and Forbiddings, Oh My

The Changeling was just the first of many.  The Ellcrys is dying, and we know that for every leaf that falls, a demon is released from the Forbidding. Without Allanon, it will be up to Wil to protect Amberle and the quest by using the Elfstones. However, as Allanon so ominously told us in a prior episode, all magic comes with a price. The real question is: will the price be too high to pay?


The Shannara Chronicles airs on Tuesdays at 10 pm on MTV. 

-The Collectress

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